Computer Specialist Associate Degree

A computer specialist associate degree program could be a good fit for someone who's a natural with computers and software programs, turning a love of technology into a career. Read on to learn about degree programs, professional certification options and earning potential. Schools offering Computer Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Can You Learn in a Computer Specialist Degree Program?

A computer specialist is an information technology (IT) professional who provides advice and technical assistance with computers and related technology. Computer specialists may work one-on-one with individuals or with entire companies. Career opportunities may be available with an organization, at a help-desk, or for computer software or hardware vendors.

Several schools offer associate degree programs for computer specialists or computer support specialists. These 2-year undergraduate programs include training in computer hardware and software, website development and help desk support. You'll learn about different operating systems, the fundamentals of networking and programming.

Most associate degree programs require you to complete general education courses in English, social sciences, natural sciences and math. You generally need to complete an on-campus program to earn your computer specialist associate degree. Diploma programs are also available for aspiring computer specialists and can be completed in less than one year.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while an associate degree may qualify you to work as a computer support specialist, some employers may require a bachelor's degree. The BLS also notes that several months of on-the-job training is common after being hired, and continuing education is recommended to stay current in new technologies.

Common Courses Hardware and software, help desk support, operating systems, programming, networking fundamentals
Certification Options Any of the MOS, HDI-CSR, ComTIA A+, HDI-DST, and Network+ certifications may be required for a career
Mean Salary $50,380 (2014)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Do I Need Certification?

Certification is offered for computer support specialists by a variety of institutions and organizations, including software and hardware vendors. The BLS notes that while certification is largely voluntary, it can help you demonstrate proficiency to potential employers and gain entry-level employment in this field. Some hardware and software vendors may require you to gain certification and will pay for you to complete training after you're hired.

Some certifications that may be required or encouraged by employers include Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification, HDI Customer Support Representative (HDI-CSR) certification, CompTIA A+ certification, Network+ certification and HDI-Desktop Support Technician (HDI-DST).

What Might I Earn?

As of 2014, roughly 766,900 computer support specialists were employed in the United States. Due to the continued growth of computer technology, employment in this field is expected to increase at 12% from 2014-2024, according to the BLS. In May 2014, the mean annual wage for a computer support specialist was $50,380. Related occupations that your degree may prepare you for include help desk specialist, PC technician and software trainer.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Keiser University

    Keiser University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Kansas State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Kansas: Manhattan
  • Troy University

    Campus Locations:

    • Alabama: Troy
  • New York University

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: New York
  • Southwestern College

    Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • California: Chula Vista
    • Kentucky: Chula Vista, Florence